Last night I was reading an article in the Atlantic headlined, “Herman Cain is no Booker T. Washington.” Below it was this photo:
My stepson peered over my shoulder, saw the name Washington in the headline, and said, “Is that George Washington?”
No, I said, it’s Booker T. Washington. He was a leader of blacks after slavery was abolished. Then, just to clarify that my stepson honestly thought the first president of the United States could have been black, I asked, “Do you know who George Washington was?”
“Yes, he was president of the United States.”
And there you have it. This is today’s generation: children who were in elementary school when a black man really was the US president — and who therefore can’t think of any reason why earlier presidents couldn’t have been black, too.
When I can show him a photograph of a woman named Lincoln, and have him think she was a president as well, then I’ll know that our culture has become civilized at last.